Properties with cats or dogs are often susceptible to fleas. It’s possible to discover signs of a flea problem even if you’ve never had pets yourself. If previous owners of your property kept them, fleas could still be hidden in carpets or cracks in walls!
Fleas are relentless and can survive a cold winter by staying as pupa for up to a year, even in unoccupied buildings. They emerge from their pupae only when they sense a potential host. The summer heat and the vibrations of people moving around more inside can stimulate fleas to emerge.
Although fleas lay their eggs on pet’s bodies, they don’t remain there for long. The tiny, oval eggs fall off animals and become hidden in carpets, bedding, gaps in flooring and soft furnishings. Eggs, larvae and pupae can unknowingly be carried around the house on the soles of our shoes. Fleas can also be spread to curtains and even our vehicles carpets or upholstery.
Fleas will flourish in the warm and humid conditions. The shady edges of carpet, rugs, soft pet bedding, upholstered furniture or crevices in flooring can offer fleas a safe harbourage. They also feed on digested blood in adult flea faeces, known as flea dirt whilst adults can survive about a month without a blood feed.
A single female cat flea is capable of producing up to 2,000 eggs in a life time. So if fleas keep coming back, (even after treating pets) and you want to be sure they are eliminated from your property you’ll need the help and expertise of a professional flea controller.
If you catch a flea problem early enough, there are several things you can do to help get rid of fleas, but above everything – thoroughly and regularly clean!
- Vacuum daily– floors, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture even curtains. This will help remove adults, pupae and flea eggs, but larvae can cling to the carpet and may not come out so easily. Vacuuming has the added benefits of removing the organic matter and adult flea faeces the larvae feed on.
- Empty your vacuum cleaner outside– very carefully because the fleas will still be alive.
- Wash pet bedding– at least weekly, ideally at 50°c or above.
- Wash everything– clothes (particularly those left on floors) linen, soft furnishings and curtains if possible or get items professionally dry cleaned.
- Groom pets regularly– with a flea comb, checking for small white, cat flea eggs and fine black droppings (flea dirt) that looks like ground black pepper.
- Consult a vet – if your pet is scratching or biting its fur, as they can recommend the best treatment for your pet.
Tips for a successful treatment by a professional pest controller:
- Thoroughly vacuum the house prior to treatment
- Pick up items on floors to enable thorough treatment
- Staff off treated surfaces until dry
- Removes pets, children and yourself from proposed treatment areas